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Comment: Parent Post Semantic Content: Null (Score 5, Insightful) 229

by FreeUser (#49354007) Attached to: How Professional Russian Trolls Operate

It's only those damn Russians are doing this, all other countries are saint.

Yeah, because that makes it all OK then.

Your comment is designed to distract from the issue at hand, shut down intelligent conversation on the topic, and imply the wrongdoer is just fine because, by implication, "everybody else does it, too" (no evidence to said implication provided, certainly not proven, and probably not true), all without contributing a single creative or new thought to the discussion at all.

Nice job, (Russian?) troll.

Comment: Re: Linux? OS X? Chrome OS? Nope. OpenBSD! (Score 1) 167

by FreeUser (#49349361) Attached to: NJ School District Hit With Ransomware-For-Bitcoins Scheme

Until systemd is removed from a major Linux distro, I would consider that distro to be less secure than even a Windows system.

Some Poettering apologist will probably mark you as a troll, but for completeness there are a number of distros that default to non-systemd init architectures, including but not limited to

Calculate, Gentoo, Funtoo, Source Mage, Dyson, indeed all kinds of distros either default or support running a systemd-free system.

Comment: Speak for yourself; most of us DO have ethics (Score 2) 90

by FreeUser (#49294921) Attached to: Google: Our New System For Recognizing Faces Is the Best

Scientists and engineers are by definition not supposed to be ethical.

"I just invented the bomb. I didn't drop it."
        --Brice, Max Headroom Episode 1 "Blipverts", 1987

Reference (in particular, the third video clip):

Back then that line was meant as tongue-in-cheek humor, funny because of its ridiculousness Depressing that we've degenerated so far that you've actually said the equivalent with all seriousness. (The same could be said for many things in that once funny, now prophetic series.)

As engineers and scientists we do NOT check our humanity at the door, or our ethics. At least, good engineers and scientists do not.

Comment: Re:Yes. What do you lose? But talk to lawyer first (Score 5, Interesting) 734

by FreeUser (#49192407) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

Yes. They don't lose anything by becoming citizens (there are tax issues but they are pretty minor), and being a US citizen has a lot of advantages, like the support of US consulate services.

I'm a dual citizen (born American, obtained British citizenship while I lived there), and while my default position would be "you should grant them US citizenship as that opens up more options to them if they ever want to live in the US" (and despite the many issues, there are still good reasons to want to live here for many people), it should be said that the tax bullshit really is onerous, and renunciation would be expensive. It is like the US congress has built a financial Berlin wall around the country ... sure, you're free to leave, if you can pay up (and pay for expensive tax preparers who specialize in filing US taxes for expats, as the forms are by no means easy), but good luck ever getting out from under our thumb.

It's not an easy question to answer, and as someone else suggested, I would involve your 16 or 17-year old child in the decision beforehand, with good financial and legal advice on the implications pro and con. Weighing the option of living here vs. the never-ending IRS headaches of living abroad--that's a tough one.

Comment: Re: Just (Score 1) 163

by TellarHK (#49152753) Attached to: Can the Guitar Games Market Be Resurrected?

I'm not a kid by any stretch, but Rock Band did let me live the rock star lifestyle in a small way. Toward the end of the craze, a local radio station had a contest up at Lake Tahoe where the brand prize was $400 worth of bottle service at one of the fancier nightclubs at Harveys casino. My boyfriend and I went up on stage with two random guys we met that night to fill out the band and won with a rendition of Aqualung. A couple weeks later the four of us went up there and got absolutely blasted. Just like rock stars!

Comment: Re: Now they just need intensity from the actors. (Score 3, Interesting) 165

by TellarHK (#49058921) Attached to: Star Trek Continues Meets Kickstarter Goal, Aims For Stretch Goals

Destroyed. At the end of every season, the CG models for Babylon 5 assets were deleted according to contract requirements with the Prime Time Entertainment Network who distributed the show. Probably as an asset reduction thing for financial BS in the era of protoCG-era production.

Comment: Re:A smart phone is rarely convenient (Score 4, Informative) 248

by TellarHK (#49050711) Attached to: Smart Homes Often Dumb, Never Simple

I think the missing key in current smart home options that most people can actually afford to purchase, is reliable voice control. I know Google's acquisition of Nest (and whatever Apple gets around to doing) will make a big difference here, but I can already say that I'd be a lot happier with my "smart" lighting if I had:

A: More money for more components such as light switches and socket replacements.
B: Voice controls that were as responsive and reasonably reliable as the Amazon Echo, which gets it right a surprisingly large amount of the time.

Comment: Do they work? Usually, but the writer got it right (Score 2) 248

by TellarHK (#49050665) Attached to: Smart Homes Often Dumb, Never Simple

Last year, I picked up a Wink Hub and four "TCP Connected" brand (which is a horrible name for obvious reasons) daylight LED bulbs to see how dipping my toes into home automation would work out, and it really has been a seriously mixed result just like the author of the the original article says. I'm using a very simple setup, two lights in my home office, and one light in the rear of the living room. The only "smart" part I have set up, is a group to let me control the office lights all at once.

And it's really not all that stable. The TCP Connected bulbs actually require the use of a home gateway and online service to control, and Wink ties into that. When that service is glitchy, things will either work or not work. There's no apparent reliable activity confirmation set up in the protocols from what I can tell, so the software never knows if a device is on or off. A fairly simple schedule I have set up dims my lights for a period before bed, and then turns them off later. This usually works, but not always. It's also supposed to turn them back on, and it doesn't appear to do that about half the time.

Is the problem the TCP bulb integration? Is it Wink? Is it the signal in my house? Is it a bug? There's no way to tell for sure, and systems just aren't bulletproof enough to rely on just yet. But is it a nice step? Absolutely.

The big thing I feel that I should do in my personal case though, is replace the light switches so I don't always have to pull out a smartphone or tablet. Is it a pain to do that? Yes and no. It's more of a pain than it should be for something advertised as super simple, because of the article's mentioned process of unlocking a device, loading app, swiping to control you need, and then hitting said control.

The prices can definitely be appealing, but once you realize that a light switch is going to be $50, it adds up.

Comment: Re:The culture of responsibility switches. (Score 5, Insightful) 262

This isn't a testing fault. I'm sure they tested the hell out of it. Dozens if not hundreds of QA people sat in cubes for months, maybe years, testing bits of this game as it got produced. And I'm sure that many of them wrote up really detailed, well reasoned explanations of just how broken it was in every single way that people are counting today.

And nobody cared because the game had to launch before the holiday season of 2014, Thousands of jobs and millions upon millions of dollars were at stake.

It isn't that nobody tested, it's that nobody really cared.

Comment: Re:If at first you don't succeed... (Score 1) 262

That is pretty much the only resource people have. And it won't work until lots of people try and do it, loudly, repeatedly, but politely. The fact that Ubisoft is already making excuses actually makes it seem like people might have a better case this time than in most, because it's not just going into a cone of silence.

Comment: Re:that's funny (Score 2) 262

It's a case where the developers looked at the raw numbers for the system that was coming, and said "Wow! We're going to have almost three times the cores, sixteen times the RAM and so much GPU!" and then went on ahead and jacked the engine demands up to a level that probably shouldn't have been reached until a few more years into the life cycle for the platform. It took years and years for the Xbox 360 and PS3 to be understood well enough to be able to create things like the GTAV engine, and possibly in part because of the switch to essentially PC hardware they now find themselves having to work with the hardware that was until recently considered second-tier to console hardware in general, but then in addition, they used AMD parts that have always been second-tier in the PC market.

This really should not have been that bad. They're overreaching, and that's basically the fundamental problem. Wait a few years, and games that try and pull off what Unity does will be successful and well optimized, but right now they're still working out just what's capable. It's just too bad for the customers that get screwed while inadvertently helping Ubisoft and other developers learn just how this hardware can be put to use.

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.